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My Very First Prenatal Exam
Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, my husband and I joyfully skipped off to my first prenatal appointment. We were both so excited and ready to see our very first baby, in our very first sonogram, AND, as my cousin had informed me, hear our very first baby’s heartbeat!
We waited patiently, but also anxiously, in the exam room for the doctor. Once she arrived and talked to us a bit, she had me prepare for the ultrasound. As the image appeared on that black and white screen, she said nothing. My heart raced as I waited for her to explain what was on the screen.
Time has made the details a little hazy, but she basically told us, “I can’t confirm the pregnancy because all I can see is a gestational sac.”
I asked, “But doesn’t a gestational sac mean I’m pregnant?
“She said, “I can’t confirm that.”
So many thoughts went through my head at once. What?! I might not be pregnant? I don’t understand! How can there be a gestational sac without a pregnancy? She went on to tell us that they would be doing a blood draw on me that day, and then again two days later, to check my HCG levels. “In two days, the HCG levels should double from the number determined today,” she explained.
We listened, then went over to the room to have my blood drawn. Then we left, pretty deflated, and much changed from the bubbly couple we were just an hour ago, when we had arrived at the office.
Now, We Wait…
Two days later, I went back in for the second blood draw. They later called me to tell me the results from the first day. It would be still another two days before we would know if the levels had doubled.
Two days later, it happened to be Friday, and I was at work when they called to tell me my levels. The nurse who made the call left a voice message asking me to call her back. Simple. Calm. Nothing at all to imply urgency. She called a second time, and left a similar message. I noticed and listened to these messages once I had my break at about 4:30 pm. I immediately called the office, which was to close at 5:00 pm but the recording informed they were now closed until Monday. I went ahead and left a message that I was returning the nurse’s call, and that was that for the weekend. I was disappointed that I didn’t know what the levels were, but there was nothing I could do about that, so I continued on through the weekend.
On Monday, the nurse calls me again, saying my levels did not double and I needed to come in right away because I might be having an ectopic pregnancy. “I can schedule you for 9:00 am today,” she said.
“I can’t come in this morning,” I replied. “I have to work.” She was clearly thoroughly agitated that I wasn’t taking her more seriously.
She said, “This is very serious as your tube could burst!” She then emphasized how she had called several times on Friday in an effort to reach me. I pointed out she had only called twice and that there was nothing in her messages to indicate an urgency to the situation. I also informed her I had tried to call back well before the office closing time. I assured her I would be in the following day and she scheduled the appointment, telling me that if I had any pain to go to the emergency room.
Was This All Too Good to Be True?
I got off the phone and felt a little dazed. What was happening? Was it really possible I was going to lose this baby I’d only gotten to know of for a couple weeks?
I called my husband and let him know the situation, and then did a little online research about ectopic pregnancy.
“An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the main cavity of the uterus. Pregnancy begins with a fertilized egg. Normally, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy most often occurs in one of the tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus (fallopian tubes). This type of ectopic pregnancy is known as a tubal pregnancy. In some cases, however, an ectopic pregnancy occurs in the abdominal cavity, ovary or neck of the uterus (cervix). An ectopic pregnancy can’t proceed normally. The fertilized egg can’t survive, and the growing tissue might destroy various maternal structures. Left untreated, life-threatening blood loss is possible. Early treatment of an ectopic pregnancy can help preserve the chance for future healthy pregnancies.” -Mayo Clinic
Ok, so what’s the treatment? Removal.
Now, I’m not here to debate the moral dilemma this situation creates. I will however, tell you that my immediate response to reading this was NO, I WILL NOT! (Before I continue, I just want to say that I did not have to actually make a decision as the pregnancy was not ectopic, so please don’t take my initial response as advice or even as a suggestion, if you are in this situation.)
Giving it to God – Act of Faith as Small as a Baby Blanket
Throughout all this, in my spare time I had been making a baby blanket. My great-grandmothers both crocheted regularly while they were alive and I was determined I would crochet a blanket for this baby, because I knew they would have if they were around. I wasn’t very good at it though, and my stitches were very inconsistent. I turned that blanket every which way trying to get it big enough, and…ummm…square. Truth be told, it was (and still is) the most dilapidated blanket I have ever seen. But it is precious to me and this is why.
I began the blanket in my excitement about the pregnancy… before the doctor’s appointment… before the drama. In my anxiousness, I continued to make the blanket, and as I made it I prayed over and over again for the long-awaited baby I just knew had to be in my womb. As I prayed and made the blanket, I listened and sang “Oceans” by Hillsong United over and over again, and made this my prayer as well. It’s a beautiful song. It’s a song of faith. It’s a song of trusting in God. My continuing to make the baby blanket was my act of faith; my token between God and I, that I trusted Him.
If you have never heard “Oceans”, I’ve included it here.
You see, I knew that no matter what happened, my all-knowing, ever-present, almighty God was with me, and He could grant me the life of my child. Yes, I knew that He could also choose not to, but I prayed that He would, and deep down within me I trusted that this baby would be carried to term, and get to use the blanket I was making.
The Sweetest Sound
After all the tests had been run, my husband and I went back in to the doctor’s office for another sonogram. As we pulled into the parking lot, I asked my husband to pray for us. “Pray that we can see the baby in the right place and that we will hear the heartbeat.” He did just as I asked.
We checked in. We sat. We waited. Finally, we were taken to a dim room with the sonographer, not the doctor. I remember well how notably sweet and pleasant this woman was. She seemed unaware of the shadow that had been cast on this occasion the previous week. As she moved the equipment around in the goop on my belly, my husband and I had our eyes glued to the screen. Right as the image came up on the screen, we heard it! The sweetest sound that brought tears to both my husband’s and my eyes: our baby’s heartbeat!
“There’s your baby, ” the pleasant woman announced! We looked at each other and laughed softly as we realized the other was crying too.
“Is it in the right place?” I inquired, as I smiled, listening to the pitter pattering “da dum da dum da dum….”
“Oh, yes,” she answered, brightly. She continued to explain to us the baby’s current size, that the baby was about 7 1/2 weeks gestation, and then gave us an estimated due date. The heaviness on our hearts was lifted, and replaced once again by the overwhelming joy we had experienced just a few weeks early when we discovered I was pregnant.
“Thank you, Lord, for granting us the life of this child. Thank you, thank you, Lord.”
We proclaim how great you are and tell of the wonderful things you have done.”